5 Best Ways to Convert Key-Values List to Flat Dictionary in Python

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πŸ’‘ Problem Formulation: Converting a list of key-value pairs into a flat dictionary is a common task in Python. For instance, given a list of tuples like [('one', 1), ('two', 2), ('three', 3)], we want to create a dictionary where each tuple is transformed into a key-value pair, resulting in {'one': 1, 'two': 2, 'three': 3}.

Method 1: Using a For Loop

The for loop method is the most traditional and straightforward way to convert a list of tuples into a dictionary. This method explicitly iterates over each tuple and assigns pairs accordingly.

Here’s an example:

result = {}
    for key, value in [('a', 1), ('b', 2), ('c', 3)]:
        result[key] = value

Output: {'a': 1, 'b': 2, 'c': 3}

This code snippet creates an empty dictionary, iterates over a list of tuples, and fills the dictionary with items by assigning the tuple’s first element as the key and the second as the value.

Method 2: Using the dict() Constructor

The dict() constructor can be used to create a dictionary directly from a list of key-value pairs. This is a clean and efficient way to create a dictionary.

Here’s an example:

key_values = [('x', 10), ('y', 20), ('z', 30)]
    dictionary = dict(key_values)

Output: {'x': 10, 'y': 20, 'z': 30}

This code snippet uses the built-in dict() constructor, which takes a sequence of iterables with key-value pairs as its arguments, and returns a new dictionary.

Method 3: Using Dictionary Comprehension

Dictionary comprehension offers a compact and expressive way to construct dictionaries f rom sequences. It’s a Pythonic approach to involve clear and declarative code.

Here’s an example:

key_values_list = [('red', '#FF0000'), ('green', '#00FF00'), ('blue', '#0000FF')]
    color_dict = {key: value for key, value in key_values_list}

Output: {'red': '#FF0000', 'green': '#00FF00', 'blue': '#0000FF'}

In this code snippet, a dictionary comprehension {key: value for key, value in iterable} is used to generate a dictionary from a list of tuples, where each tuple represents a key-value pair.

Method 4: Using the update() Method

The update() method of dictionaries merges a sequence of key-value pairs into a dictionary. It’s useful when starting with an existing dictionary that you want to update with new pairs.

Here’s an example:

initial_dict = {'alpha': 1, 'beta': 2}
    new_pairs = [('gamma', 3), ('delta', 4)]

Output: {'alpha': 1, 'beta': 2, 'gamma': 3, 'delta': 4}

This code snippet demonstrates the use of update() method on an existing dictionary initial_dict with a list of tuples new_pairs. The dictionary gets updated with new key-value pairs from the list.

Bonus One-Liner Method 5: Using the ** Operator

The double asterisk ** operator can be employed in Python 3.5+ to unpack a sequence into a dictionary, allowing a one-liner solution to the problem.

Here’s an example:

key_value_pairs = [('pi', 3.1415), ('e', 2.7182)]
    flat_dict = {**key_value_pairs}

Output: SyntaxError

This code snippet attempts to use a double asterisk ** operator to unpack a list of tuples. However, this approach will not work directly because ** is used for dictionaries, not for lists of tuples, and it would throw a SyntaxError.


  • Method 1: Using a For Loop. It’s easy to understand but more verbose than necessary.
  • Method 2: Using the dict() Constructor. It’s Pythonic and clean, but its usage is limited to direct conversions without additional processing.
  • Method 3: Using Dictionary Comprehension. This method is concise and Pythonic but requires some knowledge of comprehensions.
  • Method 4: Using the update() Method. This is great for updating an existing dictionary, but it’s not a pure conversion method.
  • Method 5: Bonus One-Liner Using the ** Operator. It’s not applicable to this problem and serves as a good reminder to validate the appropriateness of Python features for the given task.